On Monday, Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said he expected shooting guard Victor Oladipo to join the team later this week for its first scrimmage in preparation for this month’s NBA season restart.
Speaking to ESPN, McMillan claimed that Oladipo has been “going through the practices” and has been “looking good” ahead of Thursday’s scrimmage against the Portland Trail Blazers. He added he plans to manage his team’s rotation based on what happens on that day, though he noted there were “no restrictions” on any of his players in terms of playing time.
Oladipo originally opted out of the resumption of the 2019-20 campaign, citing the quadriceps tendon injury he suffered in January 2019 and his desire to continue the rehab process. However, he later suggested there was a “strong possibility” he could change his mind on the issue.
Speaking to The Indianapolis Star last week, Oladipo explained that when he said he would be opting out of the restart, he “didn’t think” he could play five-on-five basketball or properly get up and down the court. However, he said that since he and his teammates arrived at the bubble site, he has been reevaluating his progress while practicing. He concluded by saying he believed he has been “trending in a positive direction.”
When asked by ESPN on Monday about how things stand at the present, Oladipo stressed that he was thinking primarily of the present and taking it “one day at a time” before making his final decision on whether or not to play.
“At the end of the day, the only thing I’m concerned about is my team, my knee and being able to make sure that I can perform and help them at the highest level possible in this organization right here,” the two-time All-Star explained.
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Oladipo’s numbers were noticeably down during the 13 games in which he played in the 2019-20 campaign. The 28-year-old, who has career averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and three assists in 25.9 minutes per game while shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and 30.4 percent beyond the arc. This, as he explained to ESPN, was due to the fact his playing time was restricted and because he was not yet “100 percent healthy.”
He did, however, score a season-high 27 points in the Pacer’s last game before the NBA suspended operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.